oil painting hummingbird and purple vaseResearch shows that color can play a major role in our overall state of well-being and creativity. The colors we surround ourselves with on a daily basis influence the way we feel and relax.

Over the few months we have been learning about each primary and secondary color and its hidden meaning. This week is purple…

Interestingly enough, the symbolism of color is not universal, but cultural. Generally, the more rare the colored pigment, the higher value of its meaning.  Tyrian purple, the original purple is the color of a dye made from a mollusc. Purple became a symbol of royalty because only the very wealthy could afford it.

Purple is a secondary color. A secondary is made by mixing the primaries together…



PURPLE: A combination of red and blue, purple is a balanced color. There is a disagreement over exactly which shades are truly purple. The discrepancy is because of people’s varying eye sensitivity to red and blue.

Regal and dignified, purple is to be used with discretion. Pale shades of purple and lavenders are restful and serene, but the darker shades make it difficult to focus. Lavenders signify refined things of life, creative, witty and civilized.

However, purples can be tiring on the eyes and cause a sense of frustration, even sexual frustration. Gloom and sad feelings can be portrayed by using purples in paintings.

But, purples can make an excellent foil for works of art. Purple is the color of good judgment. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said if you surround yourself with purple you will have peace of mind. Therefore, purple is a good color to use in meditation. The red in violet offers a grounding effect.

Purple is also used to symbolize wisdom, magic and mystery – think of the legendary wizard, Merlin who is depicted wearing a purple robe.


Please read Use the Hidden Meaning of Color for Your Art for even more information on color.Thanks Wikipedia helping me learn a bit more about purple!

You might like to learn more about >  Green, and Blue, and Red and Yellow! Thanks, ~Lori!

Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of FineArtTips.com, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses. Lori is also a member of the CBS Entertainment Tonight & The Insider Tweet Team.

10 thoughts on “The Color Purple: Understand Its Hidden Meaning for Art & Design

  1. craft show listings says:

    I really love purple. The line… “Purple is also used to symbolize wisdom, magic and mystery” – i like it. I find purple very attractive. A lot of people admire that color. Well, I can’t blame them, purple is such a cool color and implies a lot of meaning to one’s life.

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